Rutgers Basketball May Get Into NCAA Tournament Based On Win That Didn’t Count

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Rutgers basketball is firmly on the NCAA Tournament bubble. The Scarlet Knights finished the regular season at 18-13, but would have finished 19-12 if not for a controversial loss that shouldn’t have counted.

Back on Dec. 8, Rutgers traveled to Columbus for a Big Ten Conference matchup against then-No. 25 Ohio State. The visitors led the home team by two with five seconds left and fifth-year senior Caleb McConnell was at the free throw line to make it three, but he missed.

The Buckeyes secured the rebound and got the ball to star freshman Bruce Thorton, who brought the ball up the court. McConnell immediately picked him up in the front court and forced him to the sideline.

Despite the strong defensive pressure, some how, some way, Thorton escaped and got the ball to his teammate just beyond the three-point line. Senior Tanner Holden caught the pass, pulled up, and drained the game-winning triple at the buzzer. It was crazy!

However, the play should not have counted and the Big Ten admitted after the fact that it was wrong. Before catching the pass from Thorton, Holden stepped out of bounds.

By rule, a player cannot voluntarily step out of bounds, come back in, and be the first to touch the ball. The play should have been ruled a turnover the second Holden caught the ball, before he shot.

That was not the case, and the Scarlet Knights lost by one— even though they should have won by two.

The action of stepping out of bounds and being the first player to touch the ball after returning inbounds constituted a violation of NCAA Rule 9, Section 3, Article 1. The play should have been stopped, and the ball ruled dead.

— Big Ten Conference in a statement on Dec. 9

Had Rutgers won the game, it would have counted as a ‘Quad 1 win,’ which include:

  • Home wins vs. teams RPI ranked 1-30
  • Neutral site wins vs. teams RPI ranked 1-50
  • Away wins vs. teams RPI ranked 1–75

Seeing that the Scarlet Knights are on the bubble, an additional Quad 1 win would be a huge boost to their resume. It was robbed from them originally, but they’re reportedly getting it back.

There are still a lot of factors at play in the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee’s looming decisions regarding which teams will play for a national title. Rutgers may not end up getting in anyway, but at least the wrong is being righted!

Written by Grayson Weir

Grayson doesn't drink coffee. He wakes up Jacked.

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